A highlight: Headfort Montessori School
As part of Enhancement week at the college our Early Year’s students experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Headfort Pre-School in Kells, Co Meath. A special thanks to our past degree student and the school's early years manager, Tracey Maree.
The school’s mission was very clear on entering the 100 acre site – “to educate children thoroughly, both in the classroom and outdoors”.
The Montessori school is housed in converted stables on the extensive estate, educating children from 3 to 8 years. We were warmly welcomed by a small group of very excitable children and their dedicated teachers, all instantaneously making us feel happy and at home.
The Montessori approach was apparent throughout the two classrooms in the school every step of the way, with the freedom to play, create and organise.
Details of the week’s themes are clearly displayed for parents on signing in their children. We entered the school on kindness week and this trait was visible through everyone.
A solid relationship clearly exists between teachers and parents with personal daily meet and greets. A monthly newsletter is available for parents detailing weekly curriculum, lesson plans, tips, fundraising and important dates for the diary.
Play areas demonstrate an important role with the contents changing daily from lego to sand through to real life spaghetti!
A colourful cosy reading spot allows the children to take some time out to enjoy an extensive assortment of children’s books.
In addition, a make believe bedroom is displayed together with a cosy bed, bright floor matt and shelves which are skilfully made out of drainpipes.
A clever strategy on “how am I feeling” is displayed with a mirror where the children can visualise how they are actually feeling. The mirror is supported with images showing various emotions.
Character building thoughts are clearly displayed, read and discussed in the classroom, interpreting the values of respect, honesty, integrity, responsibility, equality, sincerity and compassion.
Colourful pictures dress every wall, from fish to classical composers through to some retro looking Maria Montessori’s.
Before we began our muddy adventure the children invite us to join them for a hearty lunch in the dining hall which is housed in the main historic building. On route to lunch we enjoyed a peek into the luxurious ballroom where annual concerts are held.
The outdoor environment plays a vital part in everyday schooling, with a pretty shelf in the hallway stacked with colourful wellingtons.
Our journey outdoors began with a compulsory changeover of footwear.
There is an abundance of outdoor activities for children, all from natural resources. Climbing trees stand at the front of the Montessori building, a mere 3 metres from the red door of the school.
Green open space stretches as far as the eye can see where children can run freely and safely amongst their peers. Trees dominate the landscape with an opportunity to climb, build huts and make life long memories of daily adventures through the woods.
Our outdoor adventure ended at the working stables underneath the Montessori school - leftover snacks are fed to the horses.
An unforgettable day, which sadly had to come to an end.
A cheerful goodbye from the children and teachers alike while we boarded the bus for home.
We would like to thank Tracey Maree and all the team at Headfort School for your time and for allowing us to experience such a magical place.
Some of our favourite quotes from the day are also noted to sum up an amazing field trip to Headfort Montessori School.
“Very happy children, with a voice”
“Boundaries given with an abundance of freedom”
“Earn the right to move with the freedom to have their voice heard”
“Educate children in the classroom and outdoors”
“None of the child’s work is changed; it remains all their own work”